Vital support: building resilient charities to support Australia’s wellbeing

Service delivery Charities Not for profit sector Social services Australia

Australia, along with the rest of the world, experienced a dramatic economic crash at the beginning of the pandemic. But due to successes in managing the spread of the virus, the economy as a whole has performed much better in the most recent phase of the recovery than expected. COVID-19 also had a major social impact. While there were many positive stories of different communities coming together to support each other, there is no doubt that the pandemic had negative impacts on many Australians.

The report reviews the state of the charity sector, more than a year on from the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, and investigates what support charities need from government and others to be effective partners in Australia’s recovery. Researchers found that charities faced significant disruptions to their service delivery, finances and workforce. New analysis has found that more than half of charities faced some form of temporary closure, and more than 80% made some shift towards at least partial online service delivery.

The report calls for six actions for governments and others that would support charity resilience:

  1. Continue to provide targeted support to charities facing long-run effects of the pandemic, including ensuring that business support is structured so charities can benefit on an equal footing
  2. Appropriately fund government contracted services delivered by charities
  3. Make fundraising and philanthropy simpler to encourage increased giving
  4. Establish a Resilient Charities Fund to enable charities to invest in capability building and organisational transformation
  5. Support further research to better understand how to build back the charities sector so that they are funded for impact
  6. Meaningfully increase the rate of JobSeeker payment to reduce poverty and financial stress.
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